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The Passion of the Koresh

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  1. All right, I've been directed to this thread because I've been told that I have grossly misinterpreted Gattaca as luddite propaganda, so I feel somewhat compelled to reply here. In the fictional world of the movie, it is still immoral. We have an equivalent issue to the discrimination shown in the movie in the real world, and it's called racism. Specifically, hiring practices influenced by racism. Yes, racism is immoral. But choosing not to hire someone for such a reason is within your rights as an employer, irrational though it may be. The choice of whether or not to hire someone is a private affair and is not a justification for fraud to any extent. Fraud is a violation of rights, plain and simple. To call this a non-essential when a central focus of the movie is fraud in the face of discrimination is absolutely unconscionable, and perhaps even a little evasive. Here I see someone making the same mistake. The Howard Roark comparison is ridiculous in the extreme. Roark was not acting in response to someone not hiring him but to breach of contract, an actual violation of his rights. Let's see what Rand has to say about this (emphasis mine) If you'd like to know more about Ayn Rand, and her philosophy, called "Objectivism," I suggest you visit www.aynrand.org. It'll change your life, I promise you. Absolutely, yes, and the safety hazard is a moral problem because in addition to Vincent's fraud he's putting others at risk without their knowledge or consent. The lives of his fellow astronauts are in peril because he hid a health problem that would get an astronaut in training screend out in the real world for the very same reasons. The movie doesn't treat this as essential, but it nonetheless is, despite the thoughtlessness of the filmmakers. Gattaca is not only every bit as luddite as it appears to be superficially, but is anti-life and anti-capitalist to its very core. The scenes with the janitors were obviously meant as allegory for class struggle. You see this in their downcast looks and the scene where . Every scene with the made men and their activities exudes an insipid shallowness that matches countless other films portraying the wealthy in the same light. The exceptions are a woman who is at least decent enough to feel ambivalent about Vincent's lies, and a man so crippled on the inside he (Face it, Jerome's self-hatred was intended by the filmmakers to make him more sympathetic, because they were worried we would succumb to the same irrational envy Vincent has for the rest of "made" mankind.) In the scenes of Vincent's early childhood, there's even a tacit criticism of private health insurance; it's not explored too heavily, but it's in the same ballpark as the bullshit you hear in arguments against genetic engineering and even genetic testing. If the movie is not a luddite and socialist fantasy, why then, was there no outcry from the filmmakers or anyone involved when the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act was passed, with Gattaca mentioned in so many discussions of the bill right up to, and after, it was signed into law? It's already had a damaging and lasting effect on this country. Has anyone seen a version with the writer/director's commentary that can shed some light on this?
  2. Which is pretty much exactly what the movie demonstrated. Please rewatch the scene with Project Mayhem's members chanting "his name was Robert Paulson" over and over again and tell me what you think the message of that scene is. My list of philosophically bad movies: Gattaca (luddite propaganda) Forrest Gump (The prosperity gospel at its most extreme. Wealth goes to those who have faith in the invisible sky wizard, or perhaps who are lucky.) Signs (Everything is part of god's plan, even the most hurtful, insanely ridiculous things. Especially if they lead to a renewal of faith. Which some previous event, also part of god's plan, had taken away in the first place.) ANY MOVIE where an animal or forest creature can talk, and has something to say about humanity Any romantic comedy where the protagonist is an inept, utterly worthless human being and manages to win the object of his desire through sheer blandness\whining. These are especially awful when you realize that the premise they share is that a good woman will always give herself to the one who is the neediest, not the one who she ought to value the most. That's usually coupled with the premise that men of ability are insensitive assholes who don't appreciate women. Young teens watch movies like this and then learn to hate the opposite sex for not conforming to this idiocy.
  3. We can start with the destruction of real money and subsequent replacement with fiat money, which makes it far easier to loot on a large scale from many citizens. Every asset is preemptively stolen from its creators before they have a chance to enjoy it. The IRS and the Fed work in tandem to make sure that all you get is a vague promise of public projects that might benefit you, with the possibility of being allowed to use some--or hopefully most--of the wealth you created. Next there's the creation of a new form of collectivism that somewhat mimics capitalism, even going so far as to call itself such, but makes it disreputable instead. A culture of lobbying and corruption has replaced one that rewards prime movers. This is the "democracy" that the US encourages others to emulate. It is a morass of protectionism, Keynesian economics applied on a global scale, and the usual squabbling over the spoils by looters. American politicians have the temerity to call this a free market. There's also the draft. It's medieval, the idea that the lives of citizens are objects of sacrifice. This practice is not currently in use, but may return. The horrible notion that any soldier's life is an object of sacrifice persists to this day. Let's not forget the Great Depression. (Yes, the government caused this. The stock market nosedive might have preceded it, but government actions that followed ensured that it would be one hell of a disaster.) Those are just a few. They're not holocausts, but let's not pretend everything's peachy.
  4. In my opinion, the United States has failed catastrophically to respect individual rights. While I thank the Founding Fathers for moving in the right direction, I feel very disappointed with the end result. I have a dimmer view of this country than Ayn Rand, and I think praise for America from many Objectivists stems from a desire not to be impolitic. I don't think we should settle for "far fewer atrocities than other nations!" but should instead dare to assert that a nation run by Objectivists would be far, far superior to any currently existing country. I don't see disagreeing with Ayn Rand's appraisal of the United States as criticizing Objectivism, so I'm not sure why this thread is in this subforum.
  5. Let me be the second person to suggest here that perhaps they just picked a popular classic, at random, for Sawyer to read, and that's all.
  6. The message of the film isn't that nihilism is attractive, but that it's attractive to impressionable idiots. I can't believe how many people miss this.
  7. Right on the main page of Yahoo, I find this crap amongst the headlines: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061214/od_nm/...ogy_driving1_dc This came from Reuters. Is it just me, or is it getting more and more acceptable for the media to outright lie, rather than just slant, when it comes to "spirituality"?
  8. I predict that by 2020, environmentalists will have extended their forcasts of catastrophic change twenty years further into the future. The end. It doesn't sound as excitingly dystopic as scenarios B and C, but it follows the path of least resistance.
  9. I don't know. I liked that Batman Begins concerned primarily Batman, and not the villains. It didn't romanticize the villains, make them particularly sexy, or let them steal the show. Scarecrow got his due in a more satisfying way than the grandiose overkill prevalent in so many movies. A simple taser transformed him from an arrogant evil to the pitiful, disgusting wretch underneith. In that way evil gets exposed as a weakness, rather than an excitement.
  10. I have a problem with Determinism with regard to conclusions its proponents seem to jump to. First off, they say that free will doesn't exist. What, exactly, does "free will" free itself from? Causality? If they define free will as such, then I agree with them that it doesn't exist. Many of them go further by saying that volition does not exist. Very often, none of their premeses even remotely support the conclusion that volition doesn't exist. "Your choices come about solely because the physical form of your brain and the movement of particles, and laws of physics, etc." Yes, they come about solely because I exist in actual reality. And? "But this means that given the exact same circumstances, the exact same physical conditions, positions of everything in the universe, and same universal constants, you would always make the exact same choice." Of course. I exist as myself, which verifies--as does everything--the axiom of identity. My brain would repeat, make the same evaluations/computations/judgements, and make the same choice. This still doesn't negate the fact that I made a choice. Determinists, by defining choice as some action free (in any way, shape, or form) from causality, make it an impossibility in some odd, contrived way. I consider their argument against volition or choice frivolous when they define them as such. Consciousness, by the way, does not require any "boot-strapping" to make itself somehow above the system around it. It exists in tandem with its physical medium (the brain, in our case) and uses senses in tandem with the sensory organs (subject to the laws of physics), and perceives (via processes also subject to the laws of physics that govern how the brain operates) what it senses. It then processes the data through computation, evaluates the information resulting from the computations, and makes judgements which lead to choices (all subject to causality). Without an absolute, predictable system the way Determinists describe it, consciousness and volition can not exist.
  11. Yes. I learned of his nonexistence at the age of nine, a little later than many of my peers. They had, actively, told me that he was real with a straight face. They even made up stories of their own about how, since we didn't have a chimney, he went through the keyhole of the front door. They said the Santas at the mall were admittedly not Santa himself, but were actually his elves in disguise. Maybe it seemed a little far fetched, but hey--if you can't trust your parents, who can you trust? I felt let down, confused, and betrayed. Then I took the lesson they seemd to be teaching me to heart: all the fun/good things in life are constructed with lies. I wouldn't have used those exact words back then, but I can remember thinking something along the lines of "if it makes you happy, someone's playing you for a fool." An amusing side effect of this was that I became an atheist only two years later, at the age of eleven. "An invisible sky wizard, omniscient yet forgetful enough to need rainbows to remind himself not to drown us all, wants us to be good little boys and girls so when we die we can go to a magic place called "Heaven"? Ha! HA HA HA! I get it. I get it! Very dry."
  12. As I read this, IAmMetaphysical stands alone as the only one I consistently agree with. Chops, Kevin has a point that talking down to her won't make her feel better, but you have absolutely no reason to grovel pitifully at her feet for having convictions. Only your reason and judgement can tell you whether you argue respectfully or not. You absolutely must not yield on this issue. You must not lie to your child! You do not raise children for the sake of your partner. (This makes a good relationship between parents a necessity before reproduction, so they don't battle for influence over their children.) You do not raise children in accordance with an immoral tradition simply to avoid offending the sensibilities of the "non-crazy" parents. You do not raise children with so little respect for them you would sucker them into believing a fairy tale just to squeeze a few heart-warming Kodak Moments out of them. (Wow, it doesn't sound so "magical" when I describe it so accurately and succinctly, now, does it?) You do not do these things, or you do not raise children at all. You and she can't "get your issues straight" without debate. Don't let anyone tell you you don't have an absolute right to speak your mind about the beliefs of another person in a respectful way, even if it means "poking holes" in their beliefs. If you want to make your stance known to her without "being a dick," you just need to tell her, simply: "I will not lie to my child. (Unless to save his/her life.)" Only a fool would castigate you for a statement so direct and righteous. She might say that telling a child that Santa exists somehow doesn't constitute a lie, or that it doesn't harm the child to betray his/her trust. But you just flatly state that when Chops Jr. asks Daddy if Santa really exists, he will say "no." The child will feel upset, probably, but he/she will learn that dear old Dad will speak the truth no matter what. By the way, you don't have to celebrate Christmas, even if you have religious relatives. You have a choice. They don't own you.
  13. Ugh...I reread the post and saw that my previous reply did not answer the question. Mods feel free to delete this.
  14. The use of force, initiated by others, prompts us to cut our losses first before we figure out how to make things right.
  15. I would consider (especially Abrahamic) religion a far, far graver threat than socialism, today and for all time. Socialism causes severe loss of property, attempts to ruin self-esteem systematically, greatly diminishes the quality of life for individuals, stifles dissent and rationality, and kills on a genocidal scale, but I still think religion has it beat for the damage it can potentially--and routinely does--cause. Socialists see humanity as a blob of sentient cells (human beings) that all somehow belong to each other. Religion sees humanity as a temporary condition before an infinitely better (or infinitely worse) state of existence in the afterlife. Socialism threatens, at worst, an extinction resulting from a nuclear war. Religion, with all its hunger for a day of reckoning and apocalypse, with so many of its followers more willing to die and bring everyone else down with them than admit error or lose faith/face, with its callous disdain for actual reality and its feverishly-maintained afterlife delusion, puts human extinction far, far higher on its agenda than many of us would like to think. Which poison would you pick? Would you rather have an idiot rule over you (temporarily, for as long as the system can last) who needs you for your slave labor, or a complete lunatic (and an idiot) who thinks that killing you might actually do you or your loved ones a favor!? Do you any of you feel sick at the idea of someone looking forward to "end times" in a position of great power? I think Dawkins has taken on an extremely dangerous enemy. I wouldn't feel the slightest bit of surprise to learn that some religious fanatic (redundant) murdered him. I imagine many of his most vociferous opponents will shed plenty of crocodile tears for the media, hoping he "found peace" as they denounce the "fringe" element of the very stupidity they promote.
  16. Here's my insane idea. In the absence of scarcity, things might be sort of inverted. I got this idea when I tried out Furcadia (a free online game where you look at virtual houses, play role playing games, solve puzzles, all the while dressed up as an animal), an experience I would not recommend to anyone save my worst enemy: Captain Planet. People there seemed to want others to see what they took the time to create, promising to take a look at the other party's work and "appreciate" it (make notes, criticize, be a sycophant, or whatever the terms are for "appreciation"). It's a similar situation in Furcadia as in the above scenario: objects created with clicks of a mouse, with negligible scarcity of material (memory). So...perhaps people will pay others to acknowledge and experience their creations, art, and ingenuity. It's still a transaction between two or more self-interested persons, but in a different order than we're used to. If you accumulate wealth by "experiencing" other people (those people no doubt set the terms of what you should be looking for and how tactfully and genuinely you give your opinion), and then pay others to--well--verify your existence.
  17. I would just like to take an excerpt from John Olmsted's review of this abomination that I think is pure gold. I would like to add that a hard determinist would truly and mercilessly gut this movie with the following bombshell: the presence of random events would not support a "free will" unconstrained by causality, but would only make reality unbearably inconsistent. Oops, I guess the "truth" they so desperately sought wasn't the comforting fairy tale they thought it would be.
  18. You are worth someone else's time, and have pleasure to give someone else that they value. This is the self-esteem gained. The self-esteem you have already is celebrated when you make the presumption that you are worthy of the pleasure you experience. So the comparison between the urges is okay, but not comparing the pleasures associated with their fulfillment? If this is the case, then you might as well scrap this comparison, since we're talking about the pleasure.
  19. Rather than taking away time as a reward for revealing the location of OBL, perhaps the criminal should be faced with an additional punishment for protecting OBL. If he doesn't inform the proper authorities on the whereabouts of a known terrorist, he is an accomplice, and should be punished as such. The problem is this might require two trials, which would be costly. I think OBL's arrest would be worth it.
  20. No. If you say that something has spirituality, it is assumed that there are people involved, and that self-esteem is integrated. When I said it had its own spirituality (in context, a spirituality apart from love), I did not imply that the act somehow was conscious and capable of possessing its own domain isolated from the rest of reality. So she tells us our biological urges do not tell us what to do, and that we are rational. Curious how she uses hunger as an example of an urge. I thought you said that sex cannot be compared to food.
  21. Look at what? Where? My consciousness is an axiom, and I cannot doubt it, but searching within myself, no evidence for what you have said has magically popped into my head. Please, do not give me a trite "you weren't looking hard enough." I've had to listen to former friends bawling at me that if I'd only looked within myself, "for real this time," I would find God. I wasn't being clear enough here. Sex has its own spirituality. Period. It doesn't matter what you call it, but it isn't the same as love and it isn't hedonism (making the purpose of life pleasure, which has again been brought into this conversation inapplicably) to suggest that something can be spiritual and not be love. Changing semantics of a word has always been a classic strategy; the opponent is left with no words that would be acceptable to describe something (unless he invents them, opening himself up to another kind of mockery), and he loses the argument by default. No, I don't. No act involving physical pleasure can be without a reference to self-esteem. I don't know, it was a stupid analogy. Disregard it.
  22. But how do you observe your consciousness? Where would you draw the line within between what you are observing in yourself and your perception of that which you observe? Your perception is a part of your consciousness, so it would change as you observed your consciousness, which would then change as a result of your changing perception... That's another topic, really. Okay, it's not knowledge that somehow popped into your head, the Kant Fairy waving his wand saying "God says so." Is introspection reliable? I thought all things, excepting axioms, were capable of being understood and explained using logic and/or empirical data, so I'd rather be presented with that then told I should look within myself.
  23. A priori?!! Pleasure cannot be separate from existence, so there is no need to try to connect it. I have also never heard of an indirect sensory perception, nor of an emotion not tied directly to certain sensations and perceptions. An emotion elicited through contemplation, rather than as an immediate response is still affected by causality, and is impossible without experience, which in turn is impossible without sensation. Your definition of sex has love as the emotional/spiritual component of the act. Mine has "sex" as that component of the act (for lack of a better word, I'll overload the term.) Love is not something you start doing when you begin to have sex nor something you stop doing immediately afterwards (in general, unless your partner does something terrible right after you're finished.) If you used only one definition of communication: exchange of information between people, then there is still a range of spirituality in such an act that has as much variance as an act can possibly have.
  24. It is impossible to ignore it, as your actions (and their spirituality) are the focus of at least part of your attention, not some background noise. It is also impossible to attempt to ignore it, as the very attempt draws your attention to it. Saying that sex is only a physical act is likening it to two machines in human form "coupling" with each other--completely ridiculous. The question is whether or not porn, prostitution, or (perhaps) masturbation are equally absurd.
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